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Chapter 2 — Finance

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Value of work done by the Order


In the module on Goldenbridge, Sr Xaveria stated that prior to the appointment of Sr Bernadine in 1943, the capitation grant was paid to the convent and an allowance was then given to the Sisters who were engaged in the running of the school. Although that practice stopped, the few financial accounts that survived showed significant payments to Carysfort Mother House and to the reverend mother: The accounts of Carysfort Mother House indicate payments received between 1939 and 1954 on a monthly basis totalling between approximately €5000 and €9000 per annum described as ‘National Education Goldenbridge’. The Carysfort accounts indicate payments totalling between approximately €1000 and €5000 per annum to the Goldenbridge Convent and Goldenbridge school expenses. The source of the income is not clear nor is the extent to which the payments related to wages. It is also not clear how much of this income, or expenditure, relates to the industrial school, rather than the adjacent national school.23


Mazars also noted a payment of £90 per month to the reverend mother but were unable to say what this payment represented because of a lack of information.


The Sisters of Mercy did not offer any explanation for these payments, but they did not suggest that in assessing the capitation grant adequacy, monetary value should be placed on the work of the Sisters in Goldenbridge.



The extent to which money was paid out of capitation to the Congregation varied from school to school. Although it may not have represented a full wage for some of the work done, when added to the living expenses provided by the school to the religious staff, it amounted to a significant payment for this work.


The submission by two of the Congregations that attempted to place a monetary value on the work of their religious did not address the charitable nature of the undertaking.


Full itemised accounts should have been available to the Department of Education clearly outlining the expenditure of the State grant. These accounts would have helped form a more accurate view of the financial aspects of these schools if they had been preserved by the Congregations.


Not all Congregations behaved the same. There was evidence from smaller institutions with small numbers and little extra income that were clearly struggling to survive. Notwithstanding that, accounts of neglect and hunger were just as prevalent in the large boys’ schools that were well funded particularly during periods of high occupancy.

Analysis of individual accounts


Before discussing the Mazars’ report and the submissions made, some preliminary observations are necessary. A central point is that the sources of information and documentation about financing the institutions are limited and in some cases virtually non-existent. If proper records were available, it would be a relatively simple matter to analyse the accounts and to identify the relevant issues to be considered. It is not possible to do that because either those records are not available, or they were not kept in a manner that would enable such analysis to be made.


Although the Christian Brothers records were reasonably detailed, they did not provide enough of a breakdown to establish what payments were made. This was particularly true under the wages and maintenance sections. There was no way of knowing whether these sums related to Congregation or school expenses.


Other Congregations, such as the Sisters of Mercy and the Rosminians, have hardly any records at all. It is not clear whether these were never kept in the first place or were subsequently destroyed.


It is a significant criticism of the Congregations that they did not maintain proper records so as to establish, to their own satisfaction if to nobody else’s, that they were using all the money that they received from the State to provide for the children in care. They were in receipt of considerable financial aid at a time when money and resources were scarce and they had an obligation to account for this money properly.


The first simple point accordingly, is that there is an extraordinary dearth of financial records in regard to the Industrial Schools and that is the fault – and the serious fault – of the Congregations.


The Mazars’ report noted that: Two separate sets of books and records were maintained by the Brothers in respect of the institution at Artane – school accounts and house accounts. The school accounts recorded all of the activities deemed to relate to the operation of the school, including the farm and trade activity. The house accounts recorded the activity of the community of Brothers resident at Artane. The community also invested in the Order building fund, and details of balances held to the account of Artane are recorded in the financial information presented to us by the Christian Brothers.24


The school accounts for the period 1940-69 show that expenditure exceeded income by €70,818. The House Accounts for the same period show that income exceeded expenditure by €339,724. The most significant items contributing to the recorded surpluses are stipends or allowances for the Brothers engaged in the day to day management of the institution, and income generated from the disposal of lands. During the 1940s stipends represented 85 percent of total income of the house. In the 1950s stipends represented 68.6 percent of income, with sales of land generating a further 10.6 percent of total income. In the 1960’s stipends represented 22 percent of total income, with sales of land accounting for 63.2 percent.25


The Report concluded that the school: was virtually self-sufficient, providing the majority of its needs from the farm and the various other activities carried on within the school. This is evidenced by the low levels of expenditure on clothing and provisions, and is also reflected in a number of the Visitation Reports... It is particularly evident that figures for the 1960s are impacted significantly by the reducing number of children attending the school. However, over a number of categories expenditure was relatively consistent for the period, for example provisions purchased, clothing and fuel, light and power, reflecting the unchanging requirement for this expenditure.26

  1. Quoted in D of E submission, pp 103-4.
  2. Report of Commission of Inquiry into the Reformatory and Industrial School System, 1934-36, paras 165-7.
  3. These reforms are explained in a cogent six page Minute of 14th March 1944 written by the Department (Ó Dubhthaigh, Leas Runai) to the Runai, Department of Finance. The Minute also questioned the certification system’s legality:
  4. There is no justification for the ‘Certificate’ system. The Children Acts, 1908 to 1941, lay down the circumstances in which children may be committed to industrial schools. The Courts commit children to them in accordance with these Acts. At this stage the Certificate system operates inconsistently to allow payment of the State Grant on some of the children so committed and to forbid it on others. There seems to be no reason for the State’s failure to contribute to the support of some arbitrary number of those children. No such distinction is made, for instance, in the case of youthful offenders committed to Reformatories under the same Acts or of people sent to jail. If the purpose is to limit the number of children to which the Children Acts may apply, its legality is questionable.
  5. Memo of 4th April 1951 from M O’Siochfradha states:
  6. In all cases the actual accommodation limit was greater than the certified number and in many cases it was considerably greater viz., Glin – accommodation 220, certified number 190; Letterfrack, accommodation 190, certified number 165; Artane, accommodation 830, certified number 800.
  7. See also Education Statement, para 3.2.
  8. At certain periods (e.g. 1940s) anxious consideration was given to the question of how many places to certify – whether to raise or lower the previous year’s figure or to leave it the same. Among the factors weighing with the person taking the decision (usually there was a significant contribution from Dr McCabe) was: the numbers of committals anticipated; the suitability of the schools (e.g. accessibility from Dublin); the need to assist small schools with disproportionately high overheads; a desire to avoid creating jealousy among the schools.
  9. Data provided by Mazars indicates that a single man at the lowest point of the salary scale was paid £145 in 1944.
  10. Appendices to the Mazars’ Report are included on the Commissions website (www.childabusecommission.ie)
  11. Mazars, Part 4.1.
  12. Mazars, Part 4.2.3.
  13. Section 44 of the Children Act 1908.
  14. Mazars, Part 4.2.3.
  15. Mazars, Part 4.3.1.
  16. Mazars, Part 4.3.1.
  17. Mazars, Part 4.3.1.
  18. Mazars, Part 4.4.2.
  19. Mazars, Part 4.4.3.
  20. Mazars, Part 4.4.4.
  21. Mazars, Part 4.4.4.
  22. Mazars ‘Analysis of Stipends in Lieu of Salaries & Teachers’ Pay, March 2008’.
  23. Mazars, Part 8.2.
  24. That is approx £69,000 out of a total of £726,881.
  25. That is £251,000 out of £726,881.
  26. Mazars, Part 8.2.
  27. Mazars, Part 7.2.
  28. Mazars, Part 5.1.
  29. Mazars, Part 5.1.
  30. Mazars, Part 5.2.
  31. Mazars, Part 5.2.
  32. Mazars, Part 5.2.
  33. Mazars, Part 5.2.
  34. Mazars, Part 5.4.
  35. Submission of the Christian Brothers on the Review of Financial Matters Relating to the System of the Reformatory and Industrial Schools, and a Number of Individual Institutions 1939 to 1969 - Appendices to the Mazars’ Report are included on the Commissions website (www.childabusecommission.ie).
  36. Ciaran Fahy Report: see Vol I, ch 7, Appendix.
  37. Mazars, Part 7.2.
  38. Mazars, Part 7.2.
  39. Mazars, Part 7.2.
  40. Mazars, Part 7.2.
  41. Mazars, Part 7.2.
  42. Mazars, Part 7.4.
  43. Mazars, Part 8.2.
  44. Mazars, Part 8.2.
  45. Mazars, Part 8.2.
  46. Mazars, Part 8.2.
  47. Mazars, Part 8.4.
  48. Mazars, Part 6.4.
  49. Mazars, Part 6.4.
  50. Mazars, Part 6.4.
  51. Rosminian Final Submissions, p 13.
  52. Rosminian Final Submissions, pp 13-14.
  53. Rosminian Final Submissions, p 17.
  54. Rosminian Final Submissions, pp 17-18. Cf p 19.
  55. Rosminian Final Submissions, p 19.
  56. Rosminian Final Submissions, p 17.
  57. Rosminian Final Submissions, p 20.
  58. Rosminian Final Submissions, p 22.
  59. Rosminian Final Submissions, p 23.
  60. Mazars, Part 9.2.
  61. Rosminian Final Submissions, p 15.